Sheku Kanneh-Mason has announced his new album Elgar will be released on 10 January 2020. Elgar is a brand new album of works anchored around Elgar’s Cello Concerto, arguably the best-known work in the classical canon written for solo cello, which was first performed 100 years ago on 27 October 1919. Special projections of Sheku will be visible near major international landmarks in London, New York, Sydney, Beijing and Berlin to coincide with the announcement of his new album.
Sheku recorded Elgar’s Cello Concerto at Abbey Road Studios (famously opened by Elgar himself in 1931) with the internationally-renowned London Symphony Orchestra and its celebrated Music Director, conductor Sir Simon Rattle.
Described by The Times as, “The world’s new favourite cellist”, and by TIME magazine as a “champion of classical music”, Sheku was inspired to learn the cello after hearing Elgar’s Cello Concerto when he was aged eight or nine. His family owned a CD of the legendary 1965 recording by Jacqueline du Pré which Sheku said “directly connected with [his] emotions”. Now aged 20, he has performed the piece many times with orchestras around the world – including a televised BBC Prom at London’s Royal Albert Hall in August, where he was praised for his “poised” (Telegraph) and “introspective” (Financial Times) performance.
For his latest album Sheku uses Elgar’s iconic work as a lens through which to explore the wider musical landscape of pre-and post-war Europe. New arrangements of Elgar’s powerful and ubiquitously British ‘Nimrod’ from his Enigma Variations, and ‘Romance In D Minor’ are also featured on his new album. Sheku recorded many of the chamber works alongside his cello friends and colleagues, as well as his brother Braimah Kanneh-Mason who plays violin on Bloch’s ‘Prayer’.